Strike gold at this open-air museum, which tells the story of Ballarat’s first decade as a gold rush town with recreated buildings, goldmine tours and workshops.
Sovereign Hill is an interactive heritage landmark that brings Ballarat’s gold rush to life. Walk through history and discover a city built on gold when you explore Sovereign Hill’s recreated 19th-century village and delve into its underground mines. Like the thousands of prospectors who flocked here after the 1851 discovery of gold, you can pan in the complex’s meandering creek and the glittering minerals you unearth will be yours to keep.
Stroll down Sovereign Hill’s Main Street and chat with costumed goldfields villagers and workers plying their trades. See blacksmiths, candle makers, confectioners and coach-builders working in recreated shops and buildings from the 19th century. Join them for a hands-on workshop and learn about the restored steam-driven machinery. Stop by the theater to experience period entertainment or find out about the Victorian-era classroom at Sovereign Hill’s school.
The Sovereign Quartz Mine can be explored with a guided tour, which follows a trail through fascinating underground displays. Check out the Red Hill Mine and learn the story of the Welcome Nugget, the second-largest gold nugget ever found.
Make your way to the creek’s edge to see the lines of tents that depict what the fledgling settlement of Ballarat looked like when the rich alluvial gold was first found. Grab a pan and try your luck searching for flecks of the precious metal. Don’t miss seeing molten gold being transferred into a bullion bar at the Gold Pour.
Sovereign Hill’s Gold Museum showcases gold displays and Ballarat’s fascinating history. In the evening, be sure to experience a presentation of Blood on the Southern Cross, a magnificent sound-and-light show that tells the story of the Eureka Uprising in 1854.
Sovereign Hill is located in Golden Point, southeastern Ballarat. Reach the open-air complex via car or direct coach service from Ballarat’s train station. Children under 15 years of age receive half-price admission and family ticket deals are available. Entry to the Gold Museum is included in the price of admission. The museum is open daily, except for Christmas Day. Free parking is available on site.